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Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 5

Moses’ first oration to Israel concluded in Deuteronomy 4:43. After a brief introduction to the content of his second speech (4:44–49), we read,  “Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them” (5:1).

The Principle of Corporate Identity (Deuteronomy 5:2-5)

Moses then reminded the people they were bound to the LORD by a Covenant (5:2), one the previous generation affirmed “in Horeb” (Horeb being the same as Mount Sinai). Now, lest anyone object and suppose the covenant did not bind them, Moses stated the principle of Corporate Solidarity:

“The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (5:3). How did the LORD establish His covenant with Israel as a nation? “[He] talked with [them] face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire” (5:4). Moses then related how he had served as Israel’s mediator and received the Law and Commandments from the LORD (5:5).

The Precepts of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 5:6-22)

Notice that God’s covenant with Israel began with a preamble:

“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (5:6). After he stated the preamble, Moses rehearsed the Decalogue (ten words or statements) and thus restated the Ten Commandments (5:7-21) that were first recorded in Exodus 20. (* I will refer you to earlier studies of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. Take a few minutes and review the earlier devotion of the same. The spiritual and historical significance of the Law and Commandments cannot be exaggerated.)

Where and How the Ten Commandments were Delivered (Deuteronomy 5:22-33)

The LORD’s Spirit descended upon Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai), and He spoke “unto all [the] assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me” (5:22).

The people were terrified at the sight, “for the mountain (Horeb, i.e., Sinai) did burn with fire” (5:25). The voice of the LORD was like the rumble of thunder (5:26). Then, fearing the LORD, the people intreated Moses to serve as their mediator saying, “Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it” (5:27).

The LORD agreed to the people’s request (5:28), commended them, and said, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (5:28) What a wonderful aspiration! The God of Israel, whose presence and voice terrified them, longed for His people to fear [revere] Him and keep His commandments (5:28a). The LORD desired that it would be “well with them, and with their children for ever” (5:28b). He promised if Israel would keep His commandments, “it [would] be well with [them]” (5:33).

Closing thoughts: Do you know the LORD wants to bless you and your loved ones?

Yet, His blessings are promised to those who, in the words of Moses, “observe to do…as the Lord your God hath commanded…[and neither turn] aside to the right hand or to the left” (5:32). Sadly, some choose to take detours from the way and path of righteousness and wonder why things go badly for them and their loved ones. In the words of Solomon, “The way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15).

Are you taking the path that leads you closer to the LORD and His promise of blessings?

Questions to consider:

1) Can you identify the “corporate identity” principle in Deuteronomy 5:3-4?

2) What did the LORD promise to those who honor their parents? (Deuteronomy 5:16)

3) What does God promise to those who obey His commandments? (Deuteronomy 5:33)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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